Statement by Counsellor Nobutaka Sawada at the Sixty-First Session of Working Group A of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO


Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
At the outset, we welcome the appointment of H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Trung Kien, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, as the Chairperson of the Working Group A. I would like to thank you, Ambassador Nguyen Trung Kien, for your dedicated work in leading and coordinating this Session of the Working Group A.
Let me also thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Floyd, for his opening remarks.

[Entry-Into-Force and Universalization]

Mr. Chairperson,
We welcome the Gambia and Tuvalu’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in March, as well as the Commonwealth of Dominica’s signature of the Treaty in May. Japan applauds the Executive Secretary's active engagement in outreach activities to promote the entry into force of the treaty. We urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay, in particular the remaining eight States listed in Annex 2, in order to further advance the CTBT.
In September of this year, the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT will be held in New York under the initiative of the Friends of the CTBT. Japan believes that this meeting will provide an opportunity to reinforce the political momentum towards the entry into force of the Treaty. As a co-coordinating country of the Meeting, we will do our utmost to make this Ministerial Meeting successful.
As the only country having suffered from atomic bombings during war time, Japan is firmly determined to lead international efforts, under the leadership of Prime Minister, H.E. KISHIDA Fumio, who was born in Hiroshima, to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. As a key pillar of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime centered upon the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Japan attaches great importance to the universalization of the treaty and the promotion of its entry into force. In this regard, Japan will continue to support the efforts by the PTS to further advance the universalization and entry into force of the Treaty.

[Challenge against the Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Regime]

Mr. Chairperson,
For the past few months, some specific situations have shaken the very foundation of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, of which the NPT is cornerstone, and in which the CTBT plays an indispensable role.
One of the issues is the situation of North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and is totally unacceptable. Japan reaffirms its strong commitment to working with the international community in achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges as well as related programs and facilities in accordance with relevant UNSCRs. We urge North Korea to return at an early date to full compliance with the NPT and the IAEA safeguards and to sign and ratify the CTBT. We also call on all States to fully implement relevant UNSCRs.
The other issue is the "threat" of using nuclear weapons. It goes against the CTBT's goal of reducing the threat of nuclear weapons by implementing effective measures of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Such an act is unacceptable, and Japan strongly condemns it.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during war, Japan is fully aware of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. We stress once again at this occasion that such tragedy must never be repeated again: neither nuclear weapons coercion as we currently witness, nor, needless to say, nuclear weapons use can ever be tolerated.

Mr. Chairperson,
We appreciate the PTS for issuing the 2020-2021 Programme and Budget Performance Report as well as the 2023 Budget Update Proposals. Since the issuance of the initial draft of the 2023 Budget Update Proposals, the rise of the global inflation rate and significant increase in fuel prices are posing challenges for the global economy. We hope that the impact of these issues on the budget will be appropriately reflected in the budget proposal. Japan strongly encourages efficient formulation and implementation of the budget for the sustainment and enhancement of a stable and effective verification regime. In this regard, we request the PTS to secure a sufficient budget for capacity building activities, especially for developing countries, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the verification system.

[Human Recourses]
Mr. Chairperson,
With regard to human resource management, Japan appreciates the work of the PTS for issuing the 2021 Human Resources Management Report. The percentage of female staff at the PTS increased from 31.87% in 2020 to 36.65% in 2021, and we are pleased that the efforts undertaken by the PTS to achieve gender parity are yielding results.

[Closing Remarks]
Mr. Chairperson,
We appreciate that according to changes to the regulations it is now possible to hold fully in-person meetings from this session of the Working Group A after almost two years of conducting virtual meetings. Japan appreciates the previous efforts by the PTS to continue holding the meetings despite the unprecedentedly difficult circumstances due to the pandemic. We look forward to the fruitful outcomes through in-person discussions at this meeting.
Thank you.